Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Battery-Power for RORO Ships While Docked, Anti-Idling System Saves 6.5% of Fuel

Sanyo is finding something interesting to do with laptop computer batteries; power a car carrier while it’s at port. It’s working with a Japanese shipping company to develop an auxiliary power source for a roll-on, roll-off ship so that it doesn’t have to run its regular engines to power internal ship systems while at port; the batteries are expected to save 6.5% of fuel used on a normal RORO vessel.

That level of savings would most likely apply to shorter-haul ferry-type operations, which would be common going between the islands of Japan; it wouldn’t be as much of a factor for intercontinental shipping of cars for the export market. However, such ships would be good sellers for island-hopping ferries in Japan, the Philippines and Indonesia, not to mention the Dover-Calais run across the English Channel; Hawaiian and Alaskan car transport ferries could be customers in the US.

The battery system is slated to be made up of 644,000 small laptop-style batteries charged from a solar grid; since Sanyo is an battery maker, this would give them a great market to sell into, where they can make the equivalent of supplying a half-million laptops in one sale.

People are trying to keep vehicles from having to keep the engines running while parked; many products have been introduced to provide heat and air conditioning to trucks while parked and this allows ships to have power while moored as well. This, or something similar, might be put on RORO ships in the not too distant future.


Outlook for Car Carriers in 2010, Treading Water the Way to Go

Business was not looking good for pure car carriers or anyone else in 2009. During the year, approximately one in five vehicle carriers were taken out of service in response to the decrease in demand. Many of the larger, older vessels will likely never be used again and will be set off to the scrap yard.

However, in 2010 it looks like there may be a need for many companies to plan for business to improve. The question will become how companies will look to handle the increase in business with so many vessels currently out of service. Do they bring old vessels back into service or make the commitment to future business by committing finances to new vessels?

Transportation companies will look to be more caution with what they spend while the automotive industry is still in flux. Efficiency and economies of scale will be the order of the day for companies as they look to survive the recent decline in business in anticipation for the inevitable upturn.

Companies that are able to tread water may be in the best position once the decline passes. However it will take cautious spending and sound operational cost management in order to do so. The decline will help those that are able to weather the storm as it makes it easier for companies to phase out older car carriers that are no longer economical to operate. They will be in good position to take full advantage of the economy once it finally improves.


Thursday, February 11, 2010

Handling Damages When Shipping Cars, shipping cars, transportation company

Car shipping is almost always a simple and reliable affair. Your car is picked up on time for a reasonable price and it is delivered when it was promised and in the same condition in which it left your care. But how do you handle those rare instances when your car shows up at its destination with a scratch on the paint or a tear in the upholstery…or even missing an expensive rim?

First of all, whenever your car is picked up by a car shipping representative, make sure you complete an original inspection report. This will make note of pickup and delivery instructions, the mileage of the vehicle and the condition of it. Go over the car carefully with the car shipping representative, making note of any paint or body damage, the condition of the mirrors and all the windows, and the condition of the interior. Detailing the condition of your car protects you as well as the transportation company.

Then, when the vehicle is delivered to its ultimate destination, use that inspection report to go over the vehicle again. Take your time in going over your car, making note of any new damage on the inspection report. Point out any damage to the driver who delivered your vehicle and then have him sign the inspection report. This will generally be your only recourse in being reimbursed for repairs of damage that occurred while your vehicle was in the care of the transportation company. Finally, contact the transportation company to discuss the situation. Any reliable company will work with you to make sure your vehicle is repaired in a manner that is acceptable to both of you.


Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Shortage of RORO Facilites on West Coast, Ships are Plentiful, Parking Space Isn't, car shipping, shipping cars

An interesting aspect of the international car shipping industry is that there is a lack of available space on the West Coast of the US for roll-on-roll-off shipping. The larger ports like to major on container shipping and there is a shortage of space at those ports for RORO facilities. That might explain why Chrysler opted to use the secondary port of Grays Harbor, WA for exporting to the Pacific.

Mahindra, the newest member of the Association of International Automobile Manufacturers; the US importers trade group, may have some problems offloading their new trucks and SUVs into the West Coast and may wind up looking at East Coast ports as an alternative. Charleston, who lost a BMW contract to Baltimore recently, might be a viable alternative for the new kid on the block to be shipping cars and trucks into.

Even if there is a shortage of places to store cars on-site at major ports, there isn’t a shortage of RORO vessels; a number of new ships will be added to the fleet in the next few years. Long-tern contracts that are the norm in the car-shipping business has shielded the ROROs from the lousy shipping market of 2008 and 2009; new contracts might not be as lucrative if there is an excess of ships available.

In the future, firms might also look at container-shipping cars rather than the traditional RORO approach. There is an increasing numbers of container autoracks that can go from train to ship, and if the lion-share of port space is becoming devoted to containerized shipping, the auto industry might want to join the container party.

Sources: http://www.joc.com/node/416467

Friday, February 5, 2010

Carriers and Brokers, Whats the dif and why does anyone care? Car carriers

How do car carriers differ from shipping brokers and why does it matter? The main difference is that car carriers own their equipment—trucks and trailers—and employ their own drivers while brokers do not. Car carriers actually transport cars while brokers arrange for the transport.

So if a person needs to ship his vehicle, why would he use a broker instead of a carrier? At first glance, it would seem to make more sense to work directly with a carrier. After all, why use a middle-man?

While some people might prefer to work directly with a carrier, there are valid reasons to use a broker instead. A broker generally has access to a much larger fleet of trucks because the broker works with multiple car carriers. In other words, the broker has a network. Pickup and delivery of the car can usually be expedited because the broker isn’t tied down to a limited number of trucks and drivers as a single carrier would be.

Many carriers also only provide terminal-to-terminal service. Instead of delivering to the vehicle owner’s specified location, the carrier may require the owner to pick it up at a terminal in the destination city. Or the vehicle will sit at the terminal until other vehicles arrive that are destined for the same delivery area. The broker’s network allows it to access carriers that are headed the owner’s way, thereby expediting the delivery.

Because of this network of multiple carriers, a broker can usually also find the best price for the transport. And the broker can find a carrier that specializes in moving the owner’s particular type of vehicle.

So using a middle-man may actually save time and money. But, as with any other aspect of auto transport, the vehicle owner should research and determine the best option for him.


Volvo Trucks Field Tests Diesel-Methane Engine, Freight trucking revolution? vehicle carriers, auto transport, automobile carrier

If Volvo Trucks is successful with field tests of methane-diesel engines they have put into the transport trucks of a few Swedish road freight firms they do business with, you'll probably see trucks with the new engines on ocean-going automobile carriers sitting in North America ports in the future. The engines under test run on a combination of diesel oil and methane that according to Volvo Trucks has benefits over the traditional gas or diesel engines that includes using a lot less fuel than a normal gas powered engine and a decrease in expected costs that will be required to keep the trucks operating efficiently. The driver will also have the ability to run the truck on diesel, if a methane station isn't near by, which could be a consideration if we eventually do see vehicles with diesel-methane engines on ocean-going auto transport carriers sitting in American ports, considering the lack of infrastructure for distributing methane.

Currently Volvo Trucks has placed trucks with the new engines with seven firms, but an eighth truck is expected to be placed with a trucking firm shortly. They haven't announced any other planned placing of additonal trucks with Swedish trucking firms, but if the first trials go as good as expected, we can certainly expect to hear more about diesel-methane engines in Volvo trucks. In a few years we could be looking back on this time as the beginning of a revolution in the freight and trucking industry that will be thought of as an every day thing and seeing a vehicle carrier carrying a load of trucks with diesel-methane engines normal traveling down the highway.


Thursday, February 4, 2010

1200 GM/Chrysler Dealers Appeal Closure, Arbitrators to Rule By July

Over 1200 former GM and Chrysler dealers are taking advantage of a law passed last month to appeal the loss of their franchises taken away in the bankruptcy-induced restructuring of last year; that is good news for car haulers, since more dealers mean more deliveries. That’s also one of the reasons why GM and Chrysler wanted to close the dealers; fewer dealers means lower costs of managing relationships with dealers (including car shipping costs) and less intra-brand competition that will create higher prices for their products.

The new procedure set out by Congress is to have arbitrators look at whether the closed dealerships are viable. However, one of the problems with that approach is that many dealers have already been shut down and/or had brands reassigned to nearby dealers; some of the dealerships may have been viable, but not now after being killed off. About 2700 dealerships are eligible and almost half have opted for the arbitration.

That will create a lot of cost for the auto makers, as they have to spend time and effort defending their original decisions and may have to go through the hassle of helping restart defunct dealerships if an arbitrator rules against them. A win for a dealership will be great news for car transporters in the area, as cars and trucks will have to be moved to the revived dealership and future sales will be spread out between more dealerships; even if the total sales is the same company-wide, there will me more stops and thus more money for the car haulers.

The hearings will be done by July, so we may be seeing a spring of reversals of fortune for some dealers.

Source: http://www.detnews.com/article/20100126/AU...-GM-dealerships

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Car Hauler, Guard Killed at CA Manheim Site, No Motive or Suspect in Hayward Murders

A car hauler driver and a Manheim security guard were killed early Tuesday morning at Manheim’s San Francisco-area auction site in Hayward; news reports mentioned that auction site is just off the Nimitz freeway that was famously damaged during the October 1989 earthquake. The car hauler was found still in reverse with the dead driver behind the wheel with the trailer crashed into some cars.

No suspects are in custody and no motive is yet known for the killings. Today’s scheduled auction at the Hayward site hasn’t been canceled as of yet.

Car transport can be a dangerous business. You’re carrying upwards of a half-million dollars worth of cargo if you’re hauling luxury vehicles, so thieves are always a threat. In addition, taking cars to an auction site adds the prospect of having part of that load being repossessed cars being auctioned off by the loan holder; the former owner of the repossessed car might be possessed with rage and might take out his anger in a delayed fashion at the people auctioning off his car.

The show-must-go-on mentality of Manheim seems a bit cold, but their mission of providing a secondary market for used cars is important; if they wait until next week to restart things, car dealers and banks will be sitting on unwanted inventory for another week, costing them money. Also, in a post-9/11 environment, there is often an stiff upper lip attitude of not letting the killer win another victory by keeping them from moving cars as normal.

Source: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?...BRCOH.DTL&tsp=1

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Hanjin Shipping Prepares for Better Times, Ocean freight terminals, auto carrier, auto transport, car delivery

The automobile carrier industry might have been knocked to the canvas by the worldwide financial crisis, but auto transport carriers are preparing to get off the canvas and get back in the fight to grow the car carrier industry around the world. The industry will be stronger once we come through this period and we should learn lessons that will help us avert similar problems in the industry in the future, but we still have lots to learn and do.

The vehicle shipping industry around the world is preparing for an increase in business in 2010 that hopefully will mean a return to a healthy business environment in the industry. In Taiwan APM Terminals has just completed a deal to transfer two piers it operates in Taiwan to Hanjin Pacific, the container terminal sector of Hanjin Shipping, which will give the firm three piers with which to conduct car delivery services.

APM Terminals will stay on site to help Hanjin Shipping workers during the transfer learn what they need to know in order to keep the pier running smoothly. The three piers in question will be handling the expected traffic of some of the world's largest shipping firms in the next year and keeping the three piers operating efficiently is going to be a difficult job. They don't expect to have the facility up and moving freight until sometime in the middle of 2010, but once they do the Hanjin Pacific Terminal will be able to handle twice the present amount of freight movements through the terminal.

It appears that Hanjin Shipping is expecting freight movements to increase in 2010 at the Hanjin Pacific Terminal and they're making moves to prepare for an increase in business. Hopefully, everything goes as expected in 2010 and markets and freight volumes increase as expected. At the very least, Hanjin Shipping will be ready for an increase in their business in Taiwan, and the eventual increase in freight business around the world.


Toyota Pedal Fix- Reinforcement Bar, 30-Minute Repair at Dealer, car transport, car hauler

Toyota has finally announced its fix for its pedal recall, which won’t require much car transport; the report of last week that a shim would be added to the friction shoe proved accurate, although Toyota calls the shim a “precision-cut steel reinforcement bar.” The repairs will be made at dealers and should take a half-hour per car. Vehicles with the floor mat issue will have that taken care of at the same time.

Since there are 2.3 million vehicles in the US with the problem, Toyota dealers will be working overtime getting the new reinforcement bars in place. Even at the half-hour pace, the recall will eat up 1.15 million mechanic-hours to replace. At a rough estimate of $100/fix between parts and labor, we’re looking at a two billion dollar hit to Toyota’s bottom line.

However, that figure doesn’t begin to factor in the badwill generated from “Pedalgate.” Congressional committees are circling, car-related unions are firing both rhetorical barrels and reloading, competitors are gaining market share at Toyota’s expense, and their cars have been frozen out of car rental fleets and auction houses. That damage might run into the tens of billions, as we’ve seen possibly the worst PR debacle on car safety since the Ford Pinto and its combustible fuel tanks.

This will be long term bad news for car haulers and other service firms associated with Toyota. Car manufacturers develop a string of suppliers around their plants that depend on them for survival. Having lived near their Georgetown, KY plant, I can testify that there are a lot of parts and auto-service firms in the area that depend on Toyota business; those firms will suffer if business at the Georgetown plant slows down.

Source: http://www.detnews.com/article/20100201/AU...or-sticky-pedal